Spanish team Burgos-BH voluntarily suspends racing after string of doping offences

The Professional Continental outfit is awaiting a decision from the UCI

Burgos-BH at the 2018 Volta a Catalunya (Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Image credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Spanish team Burgos-BH have opted to suspend themselves from racing after three riders were banned for doping in the last year.

The Professional Continental team have decided to stop racing for three weeks in January and February to focus on anti-doping, according to news website Wielerflits.

In the last 12 months, Burgos riders Ibai Salas, David Belda and Igor Merino were banned for doping offences.

Team manager Julio Andrés Izquierdo said: “We have decided to voluntarily suspend our competitive activities for three weeks.

“It is essential for us that all riders and employees understand that clean sport is paramount and that there is no room for cheaters.”

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Izquierdo said riders and staff will talk with doping experts and anti-doping campaigners in response to the suspensions.

The team is awaiting a decision from the UCI, after the three cases triggered anti-doping rules which could lead to Burgos being suspended by the governing body.

Earlier this month, Ibai Salas, 27, was banned for four years for an anti-doping rule violation arising from an adverse passport finding.

Last December, David Belda, 35, was also banned for four years by the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Spain after an adverse analytical finding for EPO.

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Belda’s samples were provided in March 2017 during out of competition doping controls.

Last week, 28-year-old Igor Merino was banned for four years after testing positive for growth hormone during a doping control carried out in June.

Burgos-BH is a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), an organisation made up of professional cycling teams that aims to clean up cycling’s image.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.